Tag Archives: growth

Learning From Lessons

Often times, at the end of a lesson, I like to ask the group, “What were your key take aways?” What I really want to know is what they learned and what they’ll implement once they leave. As we go around the room, several people will give the same one. It’s always cool for me when that happens because there was a moment when lots of lightbulbs came on at one moment. They had an epiphany that there is something they’re not doing that’s holding them back, and they need to make a change in that area. If we never have those moments, we’ll keep on doing what we’ve been doing, and there’s little growth in that.

When you and I go through something, I often wonder if God is asking us what our key take aways are. I believe God wants each one of us to learn and grow. We should be constantly moving in the direction He’s leading us into. Along the way, there will be lessons to learn so that we can accomplish something He has for us down the road. God has great plans for each one of us, so we must be ready to learn and adjust along the way. John the Baptist said, “I must decrease, and He must increase,” to explain the change that needs to happen.

David was another person that learned lessons as he transitioned from a shepherd to a king. Before he became king, he shared some key take aways all of us can learn from in Psalm 27:14. He said, “Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!” (TPT) Because He was able to learn these things and implement them into His life, God was able to exalt him to king. Imagine what God can do in your life if you’re willing to learn what He’s teaching you right now.

Photo by Marcos Luiz Photograph on Unsplash

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Relationship Goals 


When I was a teen, someone told me, “You become like those you run with.” When I was a young adult, someone told me, “You show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you are.” Then several years later, someone told me, “If you want to soar with eagles, you can’t be scratching around in the dirt with turkeys.” All these reminders have been about the importance of choosing who you choose to hang out with. Either the group you’re with will hold you back or help you get to that next level.

As I’ve lived my life, I can honestly say that these messages are true. Close relationships are the greatest influencers of your success or failure. If you’re constantly failing and are stuck in a bad place, you need to walk away from the relationships that are holding you back. Your life will not change until you change your relationships. If you want your life to improve, associate with people who are ahead of you and are moving in the right direction. This works for spiritual and economic growth.

As Paul was grooming Timothy to be a leader, he gave him the same advice. 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Strive for righteousness, faith, love, and peace, together with those who with a pure heart call out to the Lord for help” (GNT) Paul wanted Timothy to understand it’s difficult to grow on your own. You need other like minded people who are headed in the same direction to help you get there. Proverbs 27:17 tells us that as iron sharpens iron, one person sharpens another. You need people around you who will make you sharp. 

When coaching or counseling people, I let them know that they need someone ahead of them that they can follow. They need someone beside them that can challenge them. They also need someone behind them that they can help get to the next level. Finding the right relationships is one of the most difficult tasks in life. That’s why it’s preached to you since you were young. It’s never to late to make the changes you need to make. If you’re ready to soar with eagles, spread your wings and leave the turkeys behind. 

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Go Farther


Recently I took my family to the beach for a weekend getaway. I was scared to let my five-year-year old son go into the ocean. He and I sat right where the waves washed up on the shore. It was fun for a while, but then my son said, “I want to go out there,” as he pointed into the ocean. I didn’t want to take him out there because I was scared of the unknown. How deep was it? Were there drop offs? What would happen if we got pulled out by the current?

After holding him off for a while, I finally consented to his relentless desire to leave the shore. I waded out to where the water was halfway up my calf, but he said, “Go farther!” I then went out to where it was just above my knees. We let the waves crash against us, but he insisted, “Go farther!” I finally went out to waist-deep water, but I refused to go farther against his wishes. I was scared that if the water got any deeper, I would no longer be in control of the situation.

As we were out there, I couldn’t help but think how if God were an ocean, the Holy Spirit would be calling me to go farther into Him. Like me, many of us are afraid to go deeper than our ability to have control. We are afraid to explore the depths of who God is beyond our understanding, so we sit on the shore just wetting our feet or wade in waist-deep. We ignore the Spirit’s calling to go farther because what we discover about who God is may not fit into our boxes that we have placed Him in.

According to NOAA.gov, we have explored less than 5% of the oceans on earth. I wonder if that’s how much we have explored the depths of God. In I Corinthians 2:10-11, Paul wrote, “The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God” (MSG). If we want to explore the depths of God, we need to be led by His Spirit who knows Him intimately.

The most powerful, yet most underutilized gift God has given to each of us as believers is His Spirit. If we as Christians won’t explore the depths of God, how will we lead others to explore Him? You can only lead others as far as you have gone. We must be willing to hear the Spirit say, “Go farther,” and then to let Him lead us there if we are going to experience the growth God is looking to get out of us. We have to set aside our fear, relinquish our control, and let the Holy Spirit sweep us away into the unknown depths of God.

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Show Your Progress (Video)

Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.
I Timothy 4:15 (NLT)

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Spiritual Improvement

We’ve been doing some home improvement projects lately. Some are small and some are large. In either case, I’ve found that it costs money, time and effort. In some cases it requires the help of others to get the job done right. I look at what it takes to do the improvements sometimes and I try to convince my wife that everything is fine. She looks at them and wants to make them better. I’m learning that we will never be done improving and changing things because as time goes on, we have to keep updating to keep it from falling apart.

Our spiritual life is very similar. We must constantly be working on improving it. There is always room for improvement and growth. None of us are where we want to stay, but many of us don’t want to do the things necessary to improve. We make excuses as to why we can’t find time to go to church, read the Bible or pray. We know we need to, but we lack the drive to make those things happen. In doing nothing, we run the risk of falling apart. I’ve heard it said that a Bible that’s falling apart typically belongs to someone whose life isn’t.

Spiritual growth will cost you. It’s not cheap to improve. You’re going to have to invest in books and seminars. You’re going to have to get up earlier. Stay up later. You’re going to have to do things differently than you’ve always done them. If you want a different result in your spiritual life than you’ve been getting, you’re going to have to do things you’ve never done. You’re going to have to force yourself to get up early to pray and read the Bible. You’re going to have to turn off your phone in order to give God 100% of your attention. Growth always costs something. It just depends on how much your willing to improve.

Next, it requires time. Each of us only get 24 hours in a day, 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds in a day depending on how you look at it. How you invest your time says a lot about what’s important to you and also determines your future. How much time do you spend playing games, watching TV, following the lives of others, reading the Bible, praying, spending time with family and friends or surfing the internet? Just like anything else in life, where you invest (sow) your time determines what your return will be (reap). If you want a deeper, more meaningful time with God, invest more time in the relationship.

Growth will also require the help of others. You do not have to walk this road alone. There are others around you who have the skills you need for improving your spiritual life. They know the scriptures that will point you in the right direction. They know how to overcome the situation you’re facing because they’ve been there. It takes you being humble enough to say, “I’m struggling with this and I can’t do it. Can you help?” For some of us, that’s easy. For others, that’s the hardest thing in the world to do and accept. If we are going to grow, we are going to need the help of others.

Where do you fall in all of this? Are you content with where you are? Do you feel like you need to grow or improve, but aren’t willing to put in the work? Maybe you want to, but just aren’t sure where to start or who to ask. Start with getting up an hour earlier each day just to spend time with God. Look around at the people God has placed in your life. Who is it that is further along than you? Ask them to help hold you accountable as well as to help you grow. Ask them what works for them. Growth and improvement isn’t easy or cheap, but the rewards are incredible. Ask God for direction and He will show you.

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Finding Good Soil

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My family and I took a road trip to west Texas. If you aren’t from Texas, that’s the part of Texas that actually looks like you imagine it. It’s how Hollywood portrays us. It’s very dry, the ground is covered with small shrubs that will one day be tumble weeds, oiled pumps dot the landscape and there are mesas that are perfectly flat on top. It’s beautiful in its own way, but as my wife out it, there’s nothing out there. She said on more than one occasion, “I don’t think I could live out here.” Even if we couldn’t, people do live there even though it’s far away from “civilization”.

We drove hundreds of miles over many hours as we headed back to east Texas. The further east we went, the taller the shrubs became, the more green the landscape became and the more abundant flowers became. As I watched the transformation, I began to wonder what made the difference. I saw a small tree growing out of a crack in a rock hill that gave me the answer. Soil. In west Texas, it was very dry. There was lots of dirt, but very little soil. Their land lacked the nutrients to grow tall trees, greenery or flowers. There was life there, but it’s growth was stunted by a lack of soil.

I then began to think, that’s where so many Christians live their lives. They choose to be planted where there is very little soil. Their growth is stunted, there’s very little water and it’s tough to live there. They struggle in their relationship with God, they get very little food from Heaven and they produce even less. They wonder why they don’t see growth like so many others. They wonder why their lives are dry and they don’t produce much fruit. They look at other believers and wish their life had that kind of growth. The answer to all that wondering is the soil they are planted in.

Psalm 1:3 says we are to be like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. We each choose where we want to be planted. The soil we ground ourself in is in direct proportion to the amount of Scripture we read and time in prayer. When we spend very little time with either, we lack the nutrients necessary for growth. We began to whither away when things get tough. We dry up when things in our lives hear up. We begin to die of thirst without the water of God’s Word. We wilt away because our roots are in shallow soil.

As with anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. If you put very little effort into your growth as a Christian,you will remain in a dry land struggling to produce and to stay alive. If you put in time and effort into the things that will benefit your walk with God, you will begin the slow process of moving towards Him. You will start to grow taller, your roots will grow deeper and your leaves will be greener. Before long, you will be like that tree planted by the riverbank producing much fruit in season. It all depends on where you choose to live. Your salvation isn’t dependent on what you do, but your growth is.

As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6, 7 AMP)

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An Outside Set of Eyes

What do Phil Mickelson, LeBron James, Andy Murray and Michael Phelps have in common besides being amazing athletes? They all have coaches. They have someone who has an outside set of eyes to help them correct errors, tweak their movements and to provide encouragement to continue when things aren’t going as planned. Each athlete you can think of has a coach who helps them to be the best they can be.

This weekend, our church brought in an extra set of eyes to see what many of us on the inside can’t see. They looked at our processes, our friendliness, our reputation in the community and much more to help us be better. Having another person see you for who you really are versus who you see yourself to be can be difficult and scary. It’s a necessary step for growth though. You don’t get better unless you have someone who you trust to come and say, “Here’s what I see and here are the changes you should make.”

Each of us as Christians are called to be salt and light in our sphere of influence. Jesus asked, “If the salt has lost its flavor, what good is it?” What if each of us found someone to meet with on a regular basis to help our flavor get better? What if we opened ourselves up to that different set of eyes and heard the truth about the light we cast? It would hurt some, but it would also provide growth.

None of us have the Christian life down perfectly. We all struggle to walk in faith and in complete obedience. We are all successful in certain areas of our daily walk with Christ and we all have areas that could use improvement. We can only look in the mirror and see so much. It’s when we allow ourselves to be exposed that we truly find growth and accountability. I speak to people all the time in the business world about finding someone to help you succeed. Why don’t we do that in something that has eternal consequences?

There will always be someone who is better at certain aspects of the Christian life. Ask them to meet with you on a regular basis to challenge you and to help you grow. There is always someone who is coming up behind you who could benefit from knowing what you’ve learned. Reach out to them and ask if they’d like to meet regularly. Each of you will benefit from the relationship. Each of you will increase your flavor and ability to shine your lights.

Who are you thinking of right now that could help you to be accountable or could help you grow? Let me encourage you today to reach out to them and ask to start meeting with them to discuss your walk with God. It could be over breakfast once a week, a round of golf every other week, a cup of coffee at a local coffee house once a month or wherever and whenever that meets your schedules. It’s important to find someone you trust with your growth and who can provide input that you respect. Set that appointment up today. You won’t regret it.

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